Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a pretty big area to cover. I have a four story home (very tall, not very wide/long/depth). But I believe the construction of this old home really prevents the signal from travelling well. I have a router on the fourth floor and a router on the third floor. Of course... this means pretty crappy data rate on the first and second floor. Those floors are also wired (just so you know). Would it be best to sett-up a router on the fourth floor and a repeater on every floor afterwards? Or a router on every floor. I heard that you can lose some data rate when using repeaters and that routers may be a better choice. Ideas?

share|improve this question
Can you run at least one wire to each floor? – Zoredache Sep 11 '12 at 5:08
This is possible. Not "wanted" but possible. – EGHDK Sep 11 '12 at 16:39
up vote 7 down vote accepted

I would recommend using Access Points (APs) and a single router in your network. Using multiple routers in a home environment does not make sense and make needlessly more complicated. Tip: most Wireless routers feature an AP-mode in which it turns off routing/DHCP.

Set up all APs to use the same SSID and the exact same security settings (WPA/WEP & passphrase). Then clients will roam over your Access Points quite seamlessly provided they are all connected to the same Layer 2 network on the back (don't do routing or more NATing there).

Set a different channel for each access point and don't set the transmit power too high - they're more likely to interfere with each other or lower the signal quality. If you have 5 GHZ enabled clients in your house (most probably the case), consider buying dual-band Access Points if buying any.

All means of wireless distribution/repeater techniques suffer from serious slowdown in the throughput (as all traffic has to be repeated). Also, using proprietary systems or manufacturer-specific features to repeat the signal are usually inferior compared to wire-connected independent Access Points in my experience.

share|improve this answer
Second that. And use wireless-N AP where possible. Wireless B and G operate in a narrow band and it is hard to create multiple non-overlapping channels. (3 channels is the best your can do). In a 3D environment that might require some puzzling. – Hennes Sep 11 '12 at 0:31
Hmm... so I guess now my question is what is the difference between a repeater and an access point? I believe a repeater just needs power, but from what it sounds like, you need Ethernet and power for an access point. – EGHDK Sep 11 '12 at 16:42
@EGHDK Exactly. Because an access point is backed by an unshared uplink to your switch (or router with built-in switch). This is much faster than sharing the already much smaller bandwidth on a WLAN frequency using a repeater. Running wires on all floors is a very good investment here, in my opinion. – gertvdijk Sep 11 '12 at 16:53
I only want the house to give off "one" wireless signal. Not multiple SSID's. An AP would also be good for this correct? Or will I search for WiFi and see 4 different signals? – EGHDK Sep 11 '12 at 20:39
@EGHDK Several independent APs configured to use the exactl same SSID will appear as one network on clients. However, in an advanced view or using Wireless scanning tools, it will reveal that several APs are providing this network. Usually clients just associate with the AP it finds to have the strongest or best signal. No configuration needed for users. I thought I was quite clear about that in my answer, implicitly. – gertvdijk Sep 11 '12 at 20:44

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .